It’s a supernatural film about a little girl, Regan, who is possessed by a demon after playing with an Ouija board. Propelled by the demon, she then goes on a murderous rampage.
She is saved from the demon after a priest, who had been struggling with his faith, decides to trade his life for hers.
In honor of the 40th Anniversary Edition of the “Exorcist” being released on Blu-Ray Oct.8, here are five things that you probably didn't know about the movie.
1. Meet my friend, Oscar
The “Exorcist” was nominated for 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture. It won two awards—Best Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay. It is also one of the highest-grossing films of all-time, earning more than $441 million worldwide.
2. Gum chewing and head spinning
Denise Nickerson, the girl who played gum-chomping, blueberry looking Violet Beauregarde in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” was originally up for the role of Regan. The script freaked her parents out, so they passed.
3. Hell Town, Iraq
The opening sequence of “The Exorcist” was filmed in Sinjar, a town in Iraq. Many of the Kurdish residents of the town worship Melek Taus, an entity equated with Satan.
Due to strange things that took place during the filming, some people who worked on the movie believe it is cursed. There was a studio fire that destroyed part of the set. Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn were injured during filming, and Jack MacGowran who played Burke Dennings in the film, died shortly after filming.
5. It’s true
Well, sort of. “The Exorcist,” the novel the movie is based on, was inspired by real-life events. In 1949 a Jesuit priest performed an exorcism on a Lutheran boy known as “Roland Doe” from Maryland. Before filming, the movie’s director, William Friedkin, read the diaries of the priests involved in the exorcism and spoke with doctors and nurses involved with the case. Though there are some differences between the movie and the book, the movie contained nearly everything that witnesses told Friedkin happened.